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Defining evidence in conflict and crisis settings

Wed, March 8, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 9 (South Tower)


For more than a decade, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been promoted as the research method best suited to inform public policy. However, standards of evidence and methods of research in settings that do not lend themselves well to randomization and are too unstable to establish robust controls—e.g., contexts in conflict or crisis—remain underspecified. As a result, policy makers and practitioners struggle with a dearth of “acceptable” evidence for these settings, despite the significant amount of broad and deep experience that exists within the education in crisis and conflict field. This paper explores a number of potentially useful approaches to rigorous research in crisis and conflict settings, and provides an overview of the broad range of evidence that may be available at local, national and international levels in conflict and crisis settings. In addition, the paper explores common sources of such evidence, how to evaluate rigor and, where possible, how to determine the cost-effectiveness of gathering more. Much of this research does not lend itself to meta-analyses, so the paper also explores alternative methods of summarizing existing data and studies, such as research gap maps and other approaches.


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